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EARTH & EMBER: CERAMIC EXHIBITION at the Ronald H. Silverman Art Gallery


Curated by Mika Cho, Brenda Starks, and Darren Alvarez

Ronald H. Silverman Fine Arts Gallery

January 22 - February 22, 2024

Video by L.A. Art Documents /


With great pleasure, the Ronald H. Silverman Fine Arts Gallery will open the 2024 calendar with the Ceramic Exhibition, "EARTH & EMBER," on Monday, January 22, featuring about twenty ceramic artists, half of whom are internationally renowned, and the other half, highly well-established, are graduates of Cal State LA, dating from the late 1940s to the present.

This exhibition is not theme-based but offers a range of contemporary ceramics. The selection of over 20 clay works highlights various approaches embraced by participating artists, featuring works ranging from traditional vessel forms to the boundless experimentation that clay affords. More importantly, this exhibition celebrates internationally renowned artists who contributed tremendously to Ceramic Education and shaped Ceramic Art for generations to come. We have invited Adrian Saxe, Beatrice Wood, John Mason, Ken Price, Luis Bermudez, Pablo Picasso, Peter Shire, Roger Herman, Thomas Müller, and Tony Marsh. The accomplishments of our Cal State LA graduates are chosen for this exhibition, Beatriz Jaramillo, Brenda Starks, Elaine Parks, Isai Favela, Matt Brugger, Randall Bruce, Stan Edmonson, Sean Kelly, and Tetsuji Aono.

If I may mention a few things about the participating ceramic artists in this exhibition, though it remains impossible to sum up their contributions in this short introductory essay, nevertheless, it should be said that Pablo Picasso changed pottery forever; by his breathtaking collection of original ceramic works from the 1940s to 1970s. According to Claud Picasso (1998), he modeled, shaped, designed, decorated, engraved, and carved over 3,500 fired clay objects during his career. This large body of work, imbued with invention and originality, has established a worthy standard for the 20th-century art of pottery. In California, Peter Voulkos, Ken Price, John Mason, and Adrian Saxe found and developed Ceramic Art Education at various institutions, such as the County Art Institute (now Otis Art Institute); Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles; at the University of California and USC, these ceramists have influenced generations of ceramic artists.

Beatrice Wood, a female pottery legend, was characterized as the "Mama of Dada," who initially studied art and theater and later became a sculptor and potter. She called her work "Sophisticated Primitive." Beatrice Wood was named the "Esteemed American Artist" in 1994 by the Smithsonian Institution.

Peter Shire, a native of Los Angeles, is known for his subversive humor and playfulness in his ceramics, furniture, toys, interior designs, and public sculptures. Artist and educator, Tony Marsh, a master of endless experimentation in clay; Thomas Muller, who incorporated text in his work; Roger Herman, whose paintings are embedded in his ceramics; Luis Bermudez's work reinvents the art of the Mayans and Aztecs are among the highly accomplished artists that are presented in this exhibition.

This is the first broadly conceived ceramic exhibition at Cal State LA's Ronald H. Silverman Fine Arts Gallery to be hosted from January 22 to February 22, 2024. The curators, Brenda Starks, a ceramist and ceramic educator, is a Cal State LA ceramic arts MFA graduate. Darren Alvarez is a current Cal State LA Studio Arts undergraduate student focusing on Ceramics and one of the current Silverman Gallery interns. This exhibition is made possible by artists, artists' studios, private collectors, and the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation, and there will be an exhibition catalog.

Mika M. Cho, Director, Ronald H. Silverman Fine Arts Gallery, Cal State LA, January, 2024


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